Deb's Digest
Debbie Atkinson’s family life column, as featured in the Southport Visiter.

Thursday, 25 October 2007


The Millstone hotel at Mellor - between Preston and Blackburn was recommended to us by friends who also enjoy what we like to call "OAP days out". It's just a pity that it's within a short drive because I'd love to book in. I was sorry that there weren't any log fires going but nevertheless we enjoyed beer-battered fish with superb chunky home-made chips, mushy peas and home-made tartare sauce. The half-lemon was wrapped in a muslin parcel to stop the pips falling out! Something I'm now going to emulate at home when I'm feeling posh.


The lovely area around The Millstone Hotel At 7.10 am I received a text from the Innocent Drinks son in Germany - I think he must have forgotten that there's a time difference! He wanted to know if one of his shirts was at our house because he wanted to wear it tomorrow. Fortunately by the time I'd started to raid the wardrobe in the room he has earmarked for his "at home" use, he sent another text to say it had been found by a friend - in another of his wardrobes in London. I must say I'm relieved because how I was ever going to get it to him by tomorrow I don't know.

The artist son and his wife have had a couple of days in the Cotswolds. This is one of our favourite areas so before they set off I gave them a list of the prettiest villages worth visiting. On the last minute I asked if they had a decent map. You'd have thought I was asking if they were visiting the moon. Map? Why would they need a map? So I gave them ours. Despite this I got a text yesterday which said that they'd set off for home but had gone in the wrong direction and were in Bristol. When I mentioned the map, a text replied "doesn't work". I told him that it's his brain that doesn't work, not the map.

When they got home six hours later he was still arguing; "we didn't go the wrong way, we just didn't go the most direct way." I should have remembered that he's always had to have the last word - since he was two.

Friday, 19 October 2007

I want a curly pig


Our younger son (Innocent Drinks) has been searching for a flat that he can afford to buy in London. It became more difficult when he moved to Hamburg for four months with his job so to help him out we drove to London and looked round ten flats on his shortlist - this was more difficult than it might sound because we did it in a day - driiving through London traffic, parking on London streets, racing from one tube to another and then legging it between addresses. What it proved to us was that yes, he could afford something but that something was basically a room - in one case a room 11ft by 10ft - to live, sleep and cook in.

However, one flat he's liked all along looked good and "had potential" as they like to say on TV property programmes. They've accepted his offer so now we're trying to sort a mortgage/survey and finances out between London and Hamburg from our home on Merseyside - thank God for the internet.

Nice but small...... 
The artist son was asked to create two pieces for the launch of the new Adidas shop in Liverpool.  Let's hope a Liverpool footballer likes them and commissions a few for the walls of his mansion.


Tuesday, 9 October 2007

The Innocent Drinks son was home from Hamburg at the weekend. We had traditional English fayre - fish, chips and mushy peas; roast beef and Yorkshire puddings followed by bread and butter pudding and I made sure he downed plenty of vitamin and omega 3 tablets. When he flew back on Sunday night his case was full of washed and ironed clothes which made me feel a lot better if a little tired!

I went to a Horticultural Society Trophy evening the other night, to collect my award for cake and jam in the summer show. I was thrilled to discover that they'd engraved my name on the trophy. As I was leaving with it someone called me back to take a note of my phone number and post code - they obviously weren't taking any chances!

I've often thought that I was living with Victor Meldrew. Now I know it's true. I'd told my husband that the bulb in the outside lantern needed replacing. I was pleased with him because I'd only had to ask twice. We went to see the firework championships with both sons in the car on Saturday night and as we reversed out of the driveway, they were completely doubled up with hysterical laughter, unable even to speak to say what was so funny. Then I saw the lantern. From somewhere - and I know not where - their dad had found a tangerine electric fire light bulb and put it in my antique lantern. I think he does these things so that next time I'll do the job myself.

Thursday, 4 October 2007


We went to see Beauty and the Beast at the Liverpool Empire yesterday afternoon. I'd booked tickets months ago fearing that otherwise, I wouldn't get decent seats - I should have known better. The place was empty. The cast were probably grateful for that because in the show's final seconds, when Beauty kissed the Beast and we were holding our breaths for a happy ending, the safety curtain suddenly came down and a voice announced that there had been a technical hitch - anti-climax or what!

After five minutes of twiddling our thumbs the curtain went up and we saw the Beast being winched up by a pulley and doing mid-air somersaults until eventually, like a contortionist he managed to get his Beast mask ripped off. I was a bag of nerves by this time and felt sure he'd plummet to the stage floor and be killed.

Then we raced home for the Liverpool match, which our daughter assured us started at 6pm. In fact it was 8pm, and then they lost, so a bit of a fruitless day all in all.

The Innocent son is home tomorrow from Hamburg. I honestly don't know how he's coping - strange country, foreign language, dossing down in a hotel, looking for a flat in Germany and looking for a flat in London.  All stressful situations in their own right - but lump them all together!

We've booked a flight to visit him in Hamburg in November - too early for the Christmas markets I think but looking forward to it none-the-less.